Google updates image search with inline previews and faster performance

Alex Masters

google image search inline 300x161 Google updates image search with inline previews and faster performanceGoogle’s desktop image search is receiving a user interface overhaul starting from today. The update include faster search results, inline previews and a more intuitive design. The changes will be rolling out gradually to all users over the coming days.

The new image search interface provides users with large image previews right from within the search results themselves. This is all thanks to a new inline preview panel that slides open to reveal information about the selected image. To give you an idea of how this works, the effect is similar to the folder and album animations found in Apple’s respective iOS and iTunes 11 software.

When selecting an image, the search results now separate to reveal the new preview pane. Within it you’ll find higher resolution, or full size, previews on the left, and more detailed image metadata on the right. This means you can preview as many image as you choose without ever needing to leave the initial search result page. You can even skip between image results using your keyboard’s cursor keys if you prefer.

Web site owners will be especially pleased to know that the changes do away with the separate preview page. Clicking previews traditionally loads the entire source web site in the background alongside the larger preview image. This is an unnecessary use of bandwidth for both the user and the webmaster and can be very costly to large domains that host many popular images results.

Removal of this separate source page also speeds up the browsing experience and data usage for general users, whilst greatly increasing the speed of search results in the process.

Google still provides links to the host domain, as well as links to the image’s source page, but it will no longer pre-load the entire page in the background. These links are displayed on the right hand side of the preview panel, along with additional image metadata, such as title, size, date, resolution, and even the camera used to take the photo (where applicable).

Google also stated on their Webmasters Central Blog that: “there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we’ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website.” Even more reason to be cheerful if you’re a web site owner.

If you are already seeing the new images search features in your browser, please let us know what you think in the comments.

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  • Mahmoud El Magdoub

    It’s a good redesign, much better than the old one.
    I have some ideas which I think would make Google image search more awesome, check it out:

  • OffTheLows

    For publishers this is a disaster. Google lifts the image to view full size and requires 2 clicks to get to the page providing the image. You have to click the image and click “visit page”. No longer a background preview of the landing page.

  • Ace Infoway

    thanks for sharing this information….. Great Work…..

  • Katrina Bailey

    Yes, but have they actually tried to use it in one of the day-to-day situations that their supposed customers use it for? It used to be a powerful tool to quickly identify unique features of unfamiliar cities, regions, towns etc.

    Now – since their search is not intelligent enough to know whether the image is actually of the term searched, or just if the term appears on the page the image appears on – you have to click twice to find the website. It then doesn’t even anchor you to the keyword searched for, so you have to search again. What a poor experience.

    Serious stuff-up this time Google.

  • Dannys1234

    This redesign looks great and is better for quick browsing… BUT it is a terrible for actually finding the correct image. It’s imperative to see the keyword info and image details in the search results.

    The old version, you hover over the image and it shows where your search terms have appeared in the originating text or image description. This new design does away with that meaning that you don’t actually know if what you’re looking at is what you’ve searched for.

    e.g. I search for Fox Tor, Dartmoor National Park, UK. There are a load of image results. Some are of the same location, some are not. How do I know which pictures are actually of Fox Tor? I now have to click through to each page and read the full text to find out. Before I could hover the image and the keywords pop up letting me know straight away.

    Google, there needs to be a work around for this.

  • Carfilhiot

    I notice that the Opera browser still delivers the old style Google Images. For once Google’s detestation of Opera has proved useful.

  • Syahmi Affandy

    same as iTunes album preview ! Apple would sue this . lol

  • Andre Soares

    Sorry to say, but this is an irresponsible, reckless post, taking Google’s p.r. b.s. at face value. No one can be THAT naive. Google Images has basically appropriated content from publishers without their permission and without giving their fair compensation. You can browse as many images as you want without giving ONE SINGLE visit to the site hosting the image. Fair? Oh, but there are four links directing to the site. Yes, one of which directs you to the image itself — once again, you load the full-size image, use the bandwidth of the image-hosting site, which, for its part, gets NO benefit: NO visits either to the post where the image is located or to the site’s ads which are necessary to keep publishers going. (Look at the sidebar next to your post and you’ll see exactly what I’m referring to.) Now, is the new Google Images a good idea? For Google and content thieves, perhaps. Not for publishers, including “The Independent,” whose images are now fully available, full size, on Google. There’s no need to visit your site to check out and/or copy your images. Fair? I’m sure Google thinks so. Though I’m just as sure that if Google’s content were scraped and pasted elsewhere they’d cry Foul Murder. Check out the various forums, including Google’s. Webmasters have seen the number of visits to their sites — and their advertising revenues — plummet. Fair?

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